April 19: Dare Wright and the Lonely Doll

Thank you Pat D. for this program summary and pictures.

Julie D. presented the program.

Julie D. presented the program.

The Lonely Doll is the first children’s book in a series by photographer and author Dare Wright. The story is told through text and photographs. It was first published by Doubleday in 1957, went out of print for years, was reissued in 1998, and brought out by Barnes & Noble for their eReader in 2012. Wright wrote 10 books starring Edith and the bears. In 2007, R. John Wright produced a limited edition felt Edith doll for collectors to celebrate the 50th anniversary of “The Lonely Doll.” This was the first Edith doll to be made in her actual 22″ height.

The Lonely Doll tells the story of a doll named Edith, who lives by herself until two teddy bears, called Mr. Bear and Little Bear, appear in her life. One day, Mr. Bear goes out for a walk leaving the two alone in the house; He returns to find they have rummaged in a closet for dress-up clothing, smeared themselves with makeup, and written “Mr. Bear is just a silly old thing” in lipstick on the mirror. Mr Bear proceeds to discipline both Little Bear and Edith, leaving Edith to worry that he will take Little Bear and leave. Mr. Bear assures her that he will never, ever, leave her.  19APR14 A Gift from the Lonely Doll - book and doll

Edith, the main character of many of her books was named after Dare’s mother and she looks a great deal like Dare Wright herself, with a blonde pony tail and golden hoop earrings. The doll is a felt Lenci Doll from the 1920s which belonged to Dare as a child. She sewed Edith’s outfits for the books and changed her eye color to blue, resembling the author’s looks.

Mr. Bear was manufactured by Schuco, and Little Bear was a special edition Steiff “Jackie Bear.” A new felt finished rendition of the Edith doll was manufactured in 2005 by the Alexander Doll Company, who made the first Edith doll in 1958. It was sold exclusively by The Toy Shoppe.

Another doll was featured in “The Little One” published in 1959. She was a Persis 126 doll from Germany.

dare wrightDare Wright :Born in Ontario, Canada, Wright spent most of her childhood in Cleveland, Ohio and attended Laurel School. Her parents divorced when she was young, and she was raised by her mother, while her brother, Blaine, went to live with his father in New York City. The siblings did not meet again until Dare moved to New York City in her twenties.

After that she withdrew into seclusion and alcoholism in her apartment just off Fifth Avenue. “Maybe Dare was born in a seashell,” muses one of the scores of acquaintances. “She didn’t look like a New York woman at all,” comments another. “Much more ethereal than that, like a ghost, like some wonderful blithe spirit.” Another calls her “a pixie, a fairy, full of imagination and in another world.” Wright died on January 25, 2001 at the age of 86 in Manhatten.

She wrote 20 books with 19 of them being children’s books and there is an autobiography of her life “The Search for Dare Wright”.  Besides her work as an author she was a model for high fashion magazines, painter and photographer with exhibitions in New York.

19APR14 Edith books by Dare Wright

Thank you Julie D. for a well-researched, fun and interesting program with a terrific display of books, pictures and dolls.

Travel Dolls

Travel Dolls

Travel Dolls

Travel Dolls

 

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